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Word Count: 1,960
Progress is a continuously operating process one that occurs without us even recognizing it that is until we become one of its victims Progress claims its victims and creates its winners and losers while the people who are destroyed by it are forgotten In his 1941 novel Out of this Furnace Thomas Bell brings us one step closer to understanding the lives that were sacrificed in the name of progress It is a story of immigrants coming to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream only to disappear into the industry that beckoned them Through the lives of Kracha Mike Mary and Dobie we are able to view the life of the immigrant worker in the evolving industrial society Bell stresses the idea of consumption throughout the novel to reveal the themes of the novel and illustrate the lives of his characters The novel begins with an immigrant Kracha making his way to the Unites States from Hungary Not having spent more then a few days away from his wife Kracha is tempted by a fellow traveler Zuska on the boat ride to America This temptation can be justified not only by Krachas character but also by the desires that the new nation created in him At this point Kracha is tempted more by his chance at a bright future then by the woman herself Zuska merely represents all the opportunities that face Kracha in his new life In order to satisfy his need for Zuska Kracha splurges and throws Zuska a birthday party This party leaves Kracha prophetically penniless and unable to afford a ticket to White Haven where he is to meet his sister Though he is broke he is optimistic for his future when he separates from Zuska and her husband When talking about meeting again in the future he says Who knows We may all be millionaires by then Then they depart dreams intact for an unknown future
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